15 Jan Elkhart General Hospital to Pursue Stroke Certification
In 2018, Elkhart General Hospital will submit an application to become certified by the Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center. Kyle Berry, BSN, RN, CCRN, Stroke Program Coordinator at Elkhart General, says the milestone is the result of over two years’ worth of work of preparation and training led by Beacon Health System Stroke Program Medical Director, Jose Luis Lopez, MD, with multidisciplinary teams in the hospital, regional EMS teams and post-acute care providers. Memorial Hospital achieved Primary Stroke Center certification in 2015.
“The engagement among all the teams has been phenomenal,” says Berry. “Everyone is giving 125%, if not more. It’s the right thing for our patients, it’s the right thing for the community and it’s going to be vital for us to stay competitive in this marketplace.”
Becoming a stroke care-certified hospital before Indiana HB 1145 goes into effect on July 1, 2018, is a primary focus of the Elkhart General teams.
“On that date, EMS teams will be required by law to bypass non-stroke certified hospitals,” Berry explains.
Because Elkhart General serves a population of approximately 198,000 people in Elkhart County as well as portions LaGrange County to the east and southern Cass County in Michigan, providing timely, lifesaving stroke care is critical. Patients who need clot removal via thrombectomy or inpatients with contraindications for receiving tPA are transferred to Memorial Hospital. Those patients can return to Elkhart General for inpatient rehabilitation, keeping the patient and their family close to home.
Following discharge, patients are offered follow-up care through the Post Acute Care Transition program.
“In 2016, our 30-day readmission rate was 9.7% — the national average is 12.5%,” says Berry. “For 2017 year-to-date, we are currently at a mere 3.8%. The program is working.”
“The commitment to achieve certification as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission at Elkhart General Hospital is conveyed by the dedication of the staff and administration to partake in the establishment of optimal systems of care for patients with cerebrovascular disease.” – Jose Luis Lopez, MD